Supervisors Pass Resolution Opposing Potential Humboldt Bay Coal Exports | Lost Coast Outpost
The Humboldt County Supervisory Board unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday opposing the threat posed by potential coal exports through Humboldt Bay.
The idea that such a resolution would even be considered may have seemed implausible as recently as early last month. But then news broke that a mysterious company was attempting to seize the North Coast Railroad Authority’s grip between Humboldt Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area with the apparent aim of facilitating exports to large-scale Coal from the Powder River Basin to markets in Asia.
Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson and Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass presented Tuesday’s resolution to the board. – burning mineral.
“I think it’s reasonable for Humboldt County to take the potential for coal exports seriously,” Wilson said.
He mentioned a study commissioned by the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, during his time on the Council of Commissioners, which found that coal was the only commodity valuable enough to potentially cover the high price of the rebate. in condition of the dilapidated railway line between Humboldt Bay and Willits.
District 1 Supervisor Rex Bohn said he supports the resolution, although he sees the threat as far-fetched.
“There is a chance in hell that coal will come out of Humboldt Bay,” he said.
Still, Bohn said he was completely opposed to the idea of trains carrying coal through the geologically unstable Eel River canyon.
Wilson suggested some changes to the draft resolution to remove references to opposition to coal the trains, in particular, as well as some references to the Great Redwood Trail. His reasoning was that opposition to coal should not be technology specific, and that the board has already commemorated its support for the Great Redwood Trail, a proposal to upgrade the NCRA line with the aim of building a trail. versatile along the 320 mile course.
Bohn thanked him for these changes, saying he supported the Great Redwood Trail as long as the property rights of adjacent residents were respected.
With the board telegraphing its eventual support for the draft resolution, the public comment period did not have the fiery outrage it might have otherwise. Two trail advocates, Colin Fiske of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities and Bruce Silvey of the Humboldt Trails Council, thanked the council for its support, with Fiske urging the county to engage directly with the Surface Transportation Board, the federal agency with the power to approve or reject the rail purchase offer.
Compulsive public commentator Kent Sawatzky, on the other hand, has said that coal has a lot of potential. Maybe carbon will replace lithium in battery production, and maybe carbon fiber will replace steel in construction. “Some believe that carbon can be our future and our friend,” he said. He added that anyone who thinks the Great Redwood Trail will actually be built is “hopelessly naive”.
The council chose not to address these reflections and proceeded to adopt the resolution unanimously. The document calls on county staff to begin drafting an ordinance to protect the public and the public’s trusted resources from the negative health and safety impacts caused by coal.